The importance of good planning

If sessions are not planned, they will turn out to be haphazard at best. Consequently, the players will also be haphazard in their playing habits. Long, detailed, written plans are not necessary; however, jotting down main ideas, and taking some time and thought to plan the day will greatly enhance the experience for everyone.

A well-planned session which moves quickly from one activity to the other adds to the satisfaction of the players, commands respect and improves performance. Plus, focused, enthused players are seldom injured and almost never present discipline problems.

Planning a successful session takes skill, a skill which is developed with time. Each time out should be a learning experience, both for the coaches and players.

Training sessions have three parts:

The Warm-Up; Should stimulate and prepare the players for the more intensely physical part of the session. It involves activities of low intensity, high repetition, fun and generates enthusiasm. Stretching should also be interspersed throughout the warm-up for older players. In the perfect world, the warm-up should be related to the main activities of the session.

Main Activities; Lays the emphasis on the technical or tactical development of the players through the use of small-sided games. Some of the basic principles to follow are: Progress from the simple to the complex, Progress from the easy to the difficult, Gradually increase the physical and mental demands.

Concluding Activity; At the end of each session, the players should be given the opportunity to play the game with big goals, with even-numbered sides. This will enable them to practice the ideas they have learned during the session. Here the players will gain invaluable experience using their skills in live, game-like conditions with minimum interference from the coach. Here, the game is fun and the natural competitiveness of the environment serves as the motivation.

The game is the best teacher; let them play!